Saturday, 4 October 2014

Windows 10 will undo 8's miscues [Boston Herald :: ]

-Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 platform is a promising attempt to make up for a trail of unhappy consumers and businesses who were force-fed a touchscreen-centric interface that they never asked for nor wanted.
Windows 8 constituted one of the most serious market misreads since Segways. But to Microsoft's credit, it has spent the past two years with its ear to the ground, if the early beta version of Windows 10 is an indication.
Although a preview of Windows 10 is available for download, don't rush to grab it. Only programmers and computer enthusiasts who have a throwaway PC lying around should even consider loading unfinished, buggy software onto their machines. What you see today isn't necessarily what you'll encounter when you go to buy your next PC.
Domestic sales of Macs and Google's Chromebooks are on the rise and Windows PC sales are declining. This year, Windows PCs slipped 4 percent in the U.S. -- from 72 percent to an estimated 68 percent, according to the NPD Group.
But Microsoft's business model is much more dependent on the enterprise market. The success of Windows 10 will almost entirely rest on whether chief information officers decide to upgrade. Far too many took a pass on Windows 8. Of the 715 million copies of Windows installed in businesses worldwide last year, only 16 million -- or just 2 percent -- were running Windows 8.
If those 98 percent of businesses still clinging to old software don't like Windows 10, it's hard to imagine anything but a catastrophe taking hold in Redmond, Wash.
And it's hard to imagine that Google and Apple won't make a giant play for those business customers, that is if they aren't already preparing to do so.
Windows 10 appears to be a case of what's old is new again. The familiar start menu and desktop setup is back. The search option within the Start Menu is back, and it's in the task bar too.
One of the biggest problems with Windows 8 was that apps take up the entire screen when they're open. With Windows 10 they are resizable. And an improved "snap" feature allows users to more easily organize multiple tasks at once. A feature allowing users to create and open multiple desktops at once shows huge promise in a world where workers increasingly use their personal devices.
And by eliminating an awkward so-called "charms" feature for desktop users and keeping it only on touchscreens, Microsoft seems to have accepted a difficult truth: the market wants to keep its mouse and cursor.